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Standout Track: No. 1, “For Rabbit (Jane),” one of four movements in a string quartet composed by Hume, aka George Mason University student Britton Powell. Powell relies on simple sing-song melodies and arpeggios that waft between time signatures, buoying the composer’s mantra-like chant of “I cannot find that which I am looking for.” For those looking for something more overtly experimental, the B-side of the LP features dub mixes of each movement.
Musical Motivation: While playing in upright bass in the GMU Symphony Orchestra, Powell, 21, was drawn away from progressive rock and jazz toward the classical music he was performing. “I just got enveloped by this whole classical spectrum that I never touched before,” he says. He eventually decided to write his own string quartet, with each movement dedicated to somebody who had a profound influence on the composer. “I wrote them for the most important women in my life: mother, sister, grandma, and ex-lover,” he says. Powell adds that “Jane” wasn’t quite an ex at the time he was composing the piece. “It was kind of an in-between, on-again-off-again, hectic, volatile, violent relationship at the end,” Powell says. “I probably learned as much about relationships around that time as I did about writing string quartets.”
Octopus’ Bargain: Classical musicians—who tend to expect steady pay and hotel rooms—aren’t very DIY. Powell has taken an altogether separate path with Hume’s touring band. “We sit inside a gigantic, illuminated, 10-foot octopus,” says Powell. “We climb into this creature and our arms extrude from it—it looks like it’s playing drums, organ, and synth at the same time.”
Hume performs Tuesday, Dec. 9, at the Velvet Lounge.